Stepping up efforts to guarantee ‘what is rightfully ours’ – Manila Bulletin
General Cirilito Sobejana, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), instructed the Philippine Navy (PN) to step up operations to defend the country’s maritime interests.
The senior military commander made this appeal while making his first visit to PN at Bonifacio Naval Station in Taguig City on Tuesday May 25, where he was received by Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, PN flag officer chief.
The age-old military tradition of the new AFP chief visiting all major military services and camps is a way to rally troops, reaffirm their commitment and boost their morale to achieve AFP’s overall goals. Sobejana was named AFP’s 55th chief on February 4.
During her visit, Sobejana attended a demonstration of the capabilities of the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) and was briefed on the current directions of the unit command.
“With the resources available, AFP will effectively maximize the use of these newly acquired assets to defend what is rightfully ours,” Sobejana told Sailors and Marines.
Although Sobejana did not specify what he was referring to in his speech, the military is the center of attention as the country continues to protest against the incursion of more than 200 Chinese fishing vessels into the Sea of Western Philippines (WPS).
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr. have consistently urged Beijing to withdraw their fishing vessels from areas claimed by Manila in the South China Sea (SCS) since March.
Last Friday, the Philippines and China held the sixth meeting of the South China Sea Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM), where the two nations agreed that dialogue is an important means of resolving the conflict in the SCS through peaceful means.
But as Manila and Beijing attempt to discuss how best to resolve their conflicting interests in the SCS, Sobejana acknowledged the PN sailors and marines who “have been steadfast in vigilantly securing our territory by conducting operations. relentless maritime security.
Since the Chinese vessel swarming in the WPS was monitored in March, the PN has deployed various vessels in the WPS for patrol operations with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR ).
âIndeed, it is the men and women of the Philippine navy who stand on the front lines as we deploy naval and air assets to assert our sovereign rights,â Sobejana said.
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